Autumn record! What the hell is happening at the Berlin airport (BER)?!?


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Berlin airport (BER) trembles from the rush of passengers. This weekend you can expect travel chaos again +++ 183,000 people expected

The pictures from the weekend are still disturbing for Berlin: Hellishly long queues, children sleeping on the floor, passengers everywhere who even missed their flights – a disaster for the only airport in the capital!

Will there be another breakdown this weekend? In any case, the number of passengers means that the worst is to be feared: 70,000 passengers are expected on Friday – the previous record occupancy during the autumn holidays.

Find out below what travelers can expect and what the Berlin airport (BER) and what the company behind it have come up with.

No end in sight? No plan?

Will there be another breakdown this weekend? In any case, the number of passengers means that the worst is to be feared: 70,000 passengers are expected on Friday – the previous record occupancy during the autumn holidays.

Last Friday around 67,000 people used the airport. The airport is expecting 52,000 passengers on Saturday, a little less than a week earlier. On Sunday, with 66,000 people, the level at the beginning of the holiday should be reached again.

In order to avoid new waiting horror, the airport operators are taking countermeasures with additional staff: According to a spokesman, 40 additional workers from their own ranks are being deployed to help passengers in the terminal and to speed up baggage handling. Long waiting times like last Saturday should be avoided in a joint effort by all system partners.

HUGE QUEUES: Holiday chaos at the Berlin airport (BER)

Check-in is currently particularly time-consuming because, due to the corona pandemic, most travelers there have to present corona tests or proof of vaccination in order to be able to start their trip.

Lufthansa announced that it would increase the number of its check-in counters from 12 to 18 at peak times. A spokeswoman said that more staff should also be used in the waiting areas.

Lufthansa did not repeat the request to passengers, which has since been withdrawn, to be at the airport four hours before departure if possible. She asked passengers to check their documents and use the online check-in facility for travel to non-risk areas.

The additional “reaction force” consists of BER employees who have volunteered, said the airport spokesman. They would be used flexibly until the end of the vacation on October 24th.

The temporary staff should direct travelers in the terminal into the correct queue, answer questions and, if necessary, help out with luggage. Actually, these tasks are outsourced to private service providers.

At BER, only the main terminal T1 is currently open for cost reasons. According to the operating company, Terminal T2, which was completed last year, will only be opened if there is a constant rush of at least 70,000 passengers a day

Nothing can be done in the short term – Expert opinion

Check-in processes take too long, and for passengers it can be tight and confusing. The former urban planner and airport expert Dieter Faulenbach da Costa was involved in the planning of numerous airports around the world, including at BER until 1999. Long before the opening, he voiced criticism of the capital’s airport and named various shortcomings in an expert report in 2012. In the interview he describes the problems and what solutions there can be.

The three former Berlin airports had six runways, at BER there are still two. The former airports had 170 aircraft positions, at BER there are 86. They had around 250 check-in counters and in T1 there are 118. And there were 28 baggage claim belts, now there are eight. BER with Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 together has fewer handling facilities than Tegel alone had, but they want to handle more traffic there. That can’t work.

Criticisms of the Berlin airport (BER)

The planners paid attention to beauty! It was built to be a beautiful terminal. Functionality played no role, and you can tell that from front to back throughout the terminal. This also leads to the capacitive problems. 

The Berlin airport (BER) company refuses to open Terminal 2

At BER, travelers will have to expect long waiting times again this weekend – but Terminal 2 will not open.

The company claimes that opening of Terminal 2 will exacerbate the problem!

They are saying that thinking that the opening of another terminal would have helped to improve the situation is very shortsighted, since there were no chaotic scenes last Friday, when the number of visitors was significantly higher than the day after. The commissioning of Terminal 2 is not necessary.

On the contrary: In the current situation, in which the staffing levels are very thin at many partners at the airport due to the corona, the opening of Terminal 2 would further exacerbate the problem. This applies in particular to the airlines’ service providers, who would then have to deploy their few staff in even more positions. Terminal 2 will be opened when demand is greater – probably in the summer of 2022.


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